Feb 27, 2001, 8:48 PM
Post #1 of 32
"Dream" First Rig
I'm going to be doing some shopping for a rig probably over the next couple of months. I'd like to hear people's ideas as to what they think would be a "dream rig" for a new skydiver.
Basically, I'm looking for containers that are comfortable, reliable, easy to pack and able to accomodate canopy "performance upgrades". As far as canopies go, I'm looking for something that opens reliably, packs well, is somewhat zippy, but more importantly is easy to handle. Reserves, really the only two choices are the Raven & PD reserve, so I'd like to hear people's thoughts on that as well.
Personally, I'm leaning toward a Javelin Odyssey container, an Atair Cobalt/Icarus Safire & a PD Reserve. Thoughts?
most important thing first. get a pd reserve. I've never heard of any problems with them, other than that they pack bigger than some other brands. ravens don't always fly straight and can be difficult to land gracefully. for the main, without knowing your experience level, I'd reccomend a pd spectre. you can't do anything to make them open hard (I HAVE tried) they are fun to fly (smaller sizes esp.) and land great. keep in mind when you buy canopy designs (such as safire or cobalt)verylong, quirks may exist that have not been exposed yet. before everyone else starts the hatefull responses, let me remind them of the nova (it got recalled when too many people died or got hurt when they collapse in turbulance)
Well first thing is I wouldn't recommend a cobalt for a newer person. It's a high performance canopie like a stiletto. A safire is a little better it's only semi elliptical. If it's not being loaded to heavy it might me a good choice. Depending on experience. Personaly I wouldn't recommend a spectre. They have some good things but there are some bad things to. With my jumps on a spectre I felt it didn't have the glide rate I wanted, and also it wouldn't get the surf like a saber would. I feel that 7 cells are ment to be reserves. If I were you I would go for a 9 cell.
Container - Javelin, Vector 3 or Infinity The Javelin is the most popular rig in the world, the Vector 3 is built by the same company that invented the 3 ring release so you know they've been around a while, the Infinity is a very clean, tight rig much like a Vector 3 but not as expensive. All three are very comfortable (get the harness rings) and safe. Any new container will be easy to pack the main in and all are available with collapsible main p/c's (not sure what else you mean by canopy performance upgrades...). A container sized for the main that is perfect for you now will accept the one or two size smaller main that you'll likely want to get later.
Reserve - PD or Raven Dash M. I haven't flown a reserve yet so I have no real input on which is better... IMHO either one will work just fine. Depending on the size container you need for your main you may decide that the Raven will work better for you because they pack a bit smaller than the PD's. Example - a Javelin J4 will hold a 190 zp main and a PD176R or Raven 218-M reserve; if you want a 190 main and the PD193R reserve you'd have to go up to a J5. Keep the square footage on your reserve close to your body weight; this will make landing it much easier should you need to use it anytime soon.
Main - Spectre. Soft,on heading openings, fun to fly, easy to land even in a tight landing area. It can be swooped if you are a good enough canopy pilot but does not have to be landed that way. I've jumped the Safire also; slow openings, really fun to fly but the landing is a bit trickier than the Spectre.
One thing about canopies - don't make this decision based solely on what ANYBODY recommends, even me . Get demos from the manufacturers and jump them. This is the only way to determine what canopy is really the best one for you.
Basically, I'm looking for containers that are comfortable, reliable, easy to pack and able to accomodate canopy "performance upgrades".
All of the riggers at my DZ recommended the Dolphin for a couple of reasons. First, they say it is rigger friendly. Second, it is easy to pack. Third, it is durable for when you land badly. Fourth, it is inexpensive. Fifth, the way it is constructed allows you to downsize your canopy a bit without buying a new container. You won't find too many gear dealers telling you to buy a Dolphin though, 'cause they'd rather you buy something at twice the price. For me the Dolphin is more comfortable than the Javelin, but your comfort may vary.
As for a main, I have a PISA Hornet which I like very much. Several other folks at my DZ have gotten these after seeing mine. I know many folks who love PD canopies. I'm sure they are good, just too expensive for me. My canopy opens softly, is easy to pack, and performs great. Oh yeah, and it cost me less than $900 brand new, custom made in 4 weeks. Obviously, everyone likes their canopy or they would get something else. I'm sure you'll get loads of opinions on a canopy.
In my opinion...dont buy anything new for your first rig!!! If you are really going to be doing some serious jumping you are going to be downsizing before too long. If you are going to do more recreational skydiving, get what you want. When I got my first (used) rig, I was just happy to get on the ground safely and aggressive canopy piloting was not my thing. You will soon realize that isnt the case. I figured that out 130 jumps later and 2 canopy downsizes later. I went from a 170 to a 150 to a 135.
In my opinion, you cant go wrong with a Sabre. And every container is fine, just make sure that it fits you properly and that you have a rigger look at it to make sure that it is up to spec for safety. Older rigs have had updates done to them and you should get them done if they havent been taken care of already. You will have plenty of time to figure out what you want. Just keep yourself safe and learn to fly your canopy before you downsize or change to a different model. It will make you a better and safer skydiver.
Personally I am a mirage fan. It is a very comfortable, secure and reliable rig. It is easy to pack. My rigger, actually looks forward to my repacks. I know Javelin's, and Vectors are excellent rigs as well.
"specially if u wanna downsize in the future, it'll be a shame that u'll have to sell it cuz it's to big for smaller canopy..."
This is a common misconception. If you buy a container that is sized for the canopy you want to jump now there is NO problem should you decide to downsize your main one or two sizes later on. Since most jumpers only go down one or two sizes at a time you should be able to buy a brand new rig sized for the canopy that will keep you safe now and continue using that same container with whatever you decide to downsize to. Only adjustment needed is to shorten the closing loop.
I know of several people who have purposely ordered their gear sized for a main one size bigger than they will be putting in it so they will have an easy, soft main pack job. I put several jumps on my b/f's Javelin J2 (sized for 150zp main) with a Sabre 135 in it; it was comfortable to wear and a snap to pack.
1) Wings Container. Read Rob Warners article under the gear review section. I demo'd one a while back and I really don't think there's anything that approaches this rig, in both comfort and reliability. Not only do riggers love it, but packers do too.
I'm not overly impressed with the Javelin odyssey. Since this is a relatively major upgrade, I would have liked to see them add some better main pin protection (like the Wings or Mirage) while they were at it. As far as I'm concerned the biggest advantage of the oddysey is the new colors available. I'm not overly thrilled with the new comfort aspect, because the Javelin was a pretty comfortable rig to start with. It's weakness was pin protection.
2) Raven Reserve. Yeah, I know what you're gonna say. Check out the new line. They've now got more reinforced taping then the PD. They're cheaper, too.
I see many people saying "don't buy anything but XXX brand reserve" or "don't buy a cheap reserve".. If you buy a reserve certified under TSO 23(c), you can't go wrong.. Don't overload the reserve(manufacturers max suspended weight limit), and you won't have a problem.. I guess many people assume "more expensive is better".. Well, not always the case..
aviatrr,not all tso'd are equal. landing characteristics are VERY important on a reserve. Think late sunset, painful mal, landing out. don't you want a reserve that flys well? correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you can get a round that is TSO'd to the same specs. You wouldn't go cheap on your main, would you. And all mains are created equal also, as long as the wing-loading is constant, right?
Well, I bought my "dream rig" as my first rig:Javelin J5, Spectre 210, Raven-M 249. I had 60 jumps when I bought it. So far I've put 210 jumps on it, and I wouldn't change a thing, although I have no experience with the reserve yet.(knock on wood) :-) Another post talked about pin protection on Javelins, but I've never had any problems. The only "problem" I had was the Spectre opened too slow for my taste. After a couple e-mails to PD I had a new slider and the problem was solved. No charge for the new slider, BTW. Bottom line: demo some gear and buy what you are comfortable with now, not what you think you'll be ready for in another 30 jumps.
Mike D-23312 "It's such a shame to spend your time away like this...existing." JMH
Don't get me wrong - I jump a Javelin myself. The pin protection on the javelin is a whole lot better then many rigs out there, but the Mirage and Wings are better. Check it out: http://www.skydivewings.com/wings.htm
I like your colors by the way... (hrm, how do I know that...?)
The risers are "anti-twist" risers. They have a tubing inside them so it is going to take much more effort to put you into a line twist rather than a traditional riser which is just webbing. I dont know if it really works, I would assume in theory it would...I will let you know in 8 weeks when I get mine!!!!
I don't think you're going to find a round certified under TSO 23(c) - the most recent TSO.. I believe they are all 23(a) and (b).. Alan - you would probably know more about that specific subject - anything to add?
My main point was that people knock certain reserves for nothing more than 'brand loyalty' or just the fact that they were always told that was the best.. I hear people knock the Tempo, the Raven, the PD, etc...but when asked why, they can't be specific.. It gives newbies the idea that everything is substandard compared to brand 'X'..
From what I have seen, the majority of experienced jumpers are more concerned with having a small, streamlined rig(to go along with their handkerchief special main) than having a reserve appropriate to their weight.. I recently watched a guy with a 200+lb exit weight land a PD126R(after chopping, I believe, a 79ft Extreme VX), and it was not a pretty sight.. His leg was the size of a watermelon about 10 minutes later - more than likely broken..
As far as overspeeding reserves.. Well, it happens, but it's not as if people intend to deploy their reserve head down.. Most reserves are certified to 130knots, which is about 150mph.. Most jumpers are not exceeding these speeds at pull time.. Quite a few are overloading the reserves, though, which I would assume lowers the max deployment speed at which the reserve will fail..
I thought that the purpose of the tubes is to provide a housing for the cutaway cables which would help prevent hard cutaways when the line twist goes all the way down the risers. Of course, if the tubes are there to prevent the risers from twisting when the lines are, then you don't have to worry about the cutaway cables being "held" by a twist. I know that Relative Workshop was looking into cable housings above the three ring and that they ruled out metal housings as these can be crimped and cause the cables to lock up, but I haven't heard anything else about RW's plans for this. Ok, I've babbled enough.
I lukily happened into my dream first rig. I had to do lots of homework and endless searching in the classifieds at dz.com and at my dz, but I finally found my dream rig (gently used).
Javelin J4 Navy Blue with Royal Blue Piping (75 jumps when I got it) Cypres (never fired) RSL (never used) Silhouette 190 main (75 jumps when I got it) Tempo 170 Reserve (never used)
I also got an altimeter, goggles, helmet, gear bag, good cold weather gloves, and a gear bag to keep it all together.
Heres the best part.....only cost me $3,000.00
IMHO, the Silhouette is a great first canopy, it has great turns zippy when you want it, lots of flair, and with the combination on F-111 and ZP its a good canopy to learn packing. I am probably "underloading" the thing (.94:1) but it works real good for my skill level (31 jumps).